A Quick Guide to Digital Photography

The field of digital photography has quickly exploded into a major industry over the past several years, with digital cameras for virtually every price range and need. Digital photography can be very complex and confusing, particularly if you want to venture beyond just taking the occasional picture or candid shot. This overview of digital photography will highlight some of the key aspects and provide some explanations of the ins and outs of digital photography.

Types of Digital Cameras

There are two main types of digital cameras. The first, point and shoot cameras, are lightweight, small, and portable cameras that have fixed lenses that cannot be changed. These are the most popular cameras, and are easy to use, as most of the features are automatic. DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras are typically bulkier and heavier, and come with lenses that can be changed to suit your needs. These cameras are considerably more expensive than point and shoot cameras, but they are preferred by professional photographers, as the quality of photographs is much better.

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Understanding Your Camera Terminology

There are a number of camera settings that determine the quality of photographs, but most people don’t understand what these properties are, and the camera jargon can be quite confusing. Metering modes involve measuring the amount of light that reflects from objects in the scene. Shooting modes are pre-programmed styles of shots, and you pick the one that is most suited to your needs. The histogram is a way to evaluate your photos already taken, and it measures both colors and brightness.

White balance refers to how the camera adjusts for color temperature in a photo. Human eyes can automatically adjust to the color differences in various lights, but digital cameras have to compensate for that difference. Focal length refers to the lens, and how zoomed in your photos are. The higher the focal length, and more zoomed the lens is. Depth of field is the distance between the closest and the furthest objects in an image.

The Exposure Triangle

The Exposure Triangle sounds like some complex mathematical calculation, but in reality, it’s the way that shutter speed, ISO, and aperture work together in a camera to determine how much light is allowed in the photograph. The shutter speed refers to how long the camera’s sensor is exposed to light, ISO is the sensitivity level of the sensor, and aperture refers to how much light the lens allows in. These three properties work together to create a balance that produces a quality photograph, and when one is changed, the other two must be changed accordingly.

How to Take Sharp Photographs

There are a number of things involved with taking high-quality photographs. Using a prime lens, rather than a zoom lens, often results in sharper images, although you won’t have the ability to zoom in closely on a subject. If you want to be able to capture the fine details on a subject, then a zoom lens will work better. Compose your pictures before taking the shots. You don’t have plan every detail, but have a vision in your head for how you want the image to look. Balance is important for any good photograph, and of course, avoid camera shakes, which will blur the images. In fact, most cameras today feature anti-shake technology that helps to stabilize an image.

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Methods to Use

Some particular methods are preferred to create great photographs. Choose simple backgrounds for your photos, as too much clutter in the photo will distract from the subject. Try to create a sense of depth, to give a 3-D perception, rather than just a flat surface. Don’t use a flash indoors, as it tends to wash faces out. If you want to create a sense of motion, you can pan your camera from side to side as you take the photo. Using a polarizing filter is a good way to darken a scene or get rid of reflections.


Don’t be afraid to experiment with a camera. That’s part of the fun of digital photography, that you can do a variety of things that weren’t possible with traditional film cameras, particularly with photo editing. There are some amazing photo editing programs that can enhance your photographs beyond your greatest expectations, along with offering filter options that required extra accessories with film cameras.

Explore the settings on your camera. Try out the different shooting modes, the different shutter speeds, for a variety of photos. Don’t be afraid of messing up your camera or photos. Remember, even professional photographers take lots of photos before deciding on the perfect one. You can find out more information by reading about digital cameras online.

Bottom Line

Obviously, this is not intended to be an all-encompassing description of digital photography, but this should give you a good starting point for information. The field of digital photography is growing every year, and cameras are always improving, so it’s a good idea to keep up-to-date on the latest information.

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